• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

the crucible - role of abigail in the play

Extracts from this document...


What is the role of Abigail Williams in the play 'The Crucible' and to what extent did she cause what happened in Salem? As an actor or director what qualities to you consider important for this role? "The Crucible" is a play written by Aruthur Miller as an historical allegory for the 1950's communist 'witch hunt' in America. However, "The Crucible" is mainly a play which allows the reader to see deeply into the human condition, the good and the bad and makes the reader think about loyalty, their own and the loyalty of others as they continue through the play. Throughout the play we see many sides of Abigails character which changes and develops as the situation in Salem does. In the play Abigail is evidently the villian; lying and manipulating her friends and other people in the village. Abigail plays one of the most important parts in 'the Crucible.' She is a catalyst and a protagonist fuelling the fire, and starting many of the accusations in Salem. Abigail is first introduced as 'seventeen' and 'strikingly beautiful,' she is also decribed as 'an orphan' which makes us initially feel sorry for her. Also from her description we assume she has good intentions. This stereotype is confirmed when she tells Parris, on page seven, that she "did dance" and that he should tell the town she "confessed it." ...read more.


During the course of the play, she sentences 17 people to their deaths where she could have confessed that she was lying, rather than reap a 'whores vengence' on Elizabeth, John and the rest of the town. Abigail is menecing and spiteful, this means she showed no remorse toward the dead, but rather run away. We can see this towards her treatment of the girls. She uses the hysteria of the 'witchcraft' they did to manipulate the girls as they are scared of her 'pointy reckoning' and the fact that witchcraft is a 'hanging offense' as in Salem society it is going against the thing they all believe they live for, their God. Abigail manipulates the questions asked to her by Hale and turns them to her own advantage to avoid being accused herself. When hale accuses her of witchcraft she blames Tituba, the black slave, saying she hears her 'singing her barbados songs.' However when she decided she wants the spotlight back on her again she takes control of the situation again, this is key after Tituba confesses to working with the devil. Being a good christian, the main ideal of Salem's society, Hale forgives her in the name of the lord and she starts to name witches. Abbie who is afraid takes control again so she cannot be named herself. She puts herself on a pedestal so that she can be in control of a life that would have been set for her otherwise. ...read more.


However I believe that Danforth was very aware of Abigails power after that. Crutially Abigail has to be convincing in the courtroom or she would not have had such power of the town. This is crucial to the whole plot. If nobody had believed her then the plot would have taken a completely different turn; stopping the allegory as Miller had intended. There was many separate causes to what happened in Salem in the crucible. Many people believe it was completely Abigails fault. They are partially right due to the fact on the first few nights of her being in charge 'thirty-nine' women were accused. But the question still stands to what extent of her fault was it. Abigail confessed to dancing and pleaded Paris to allow her to in the beginning. However this has to be weighed against her plotting and manipulating of the town which came to her at her beckon call. Also other characters in the town used the hysteria to their own advantages, for things like land. I believe that Abigail was mostly to blame, however she did not start the mess that happened, however acted at a catalyst, quickening the pace of the accusations and excecutions which eventually lead to the hanging of John Proctor and Rebecca Nurse, two fairly upright names in the town. Her acting as a catalyst also lead to 'the power of theocracy' breaking and good names being soiled because of her childish lust. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. "The Crucible yields a number of scenes which are prime examples of Arthur Millers ...

    He draws a parallel between society back then and Mccarthyism in his time and shows how their problemes were related. He manages to convince us, the audience thus demonstrating his theatrical qualities. He shows us in the first chosen scene how humans often lack courage whether it is to admit

  2. Is Abigail Williams a Symptom or Cause of Events Which Take Place in 'The ...

    These actions show the length of Abigail's selfishness, and its success in Salem sets and example for the other girls who are quick to latch on and do the same, thus suggesting Abigail may be the cause of events which take place in the Crucible.

  1. The Crucible Analysis

    (Miller 25), which shows that Abigail obviously hates Salem and wants Salem to pay. Her hatred and motivation to inflict damage upon her enemies causes her to do unimaginable things. She has an affair with John Proctor before the Salem witch trials; after that affair, she unleashes a consecutive outburst

  2. How does Arthur Miller present The character of Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible'.

    And this afternoon and now tonight, I go from house to house." This is Arthur Miller's way of telling the audience why he's at the Proctors house, to judge the Proctors. Reverend Hale is very prominent in the way in which he says that his visit is without the court's authorization.

  1. Write about the character of Danforth and his exercise of his judicial powers in ...

    It just shows how pitiless he is. In the stage directions Danforth is portrayed in a similar way. He at one point he: "Reaches out and holds Elizabeth's face" and at another he turns Mary Warren "Roughly to face him" Using such a physical, overbearing and domineering action shows his

  2. The Crucible Revision Notes

    Proctor knows from the beginning that the witch trials constitute nothing more than a ?whore?s vengeance??Abigail?s revenge on him for ending their affair?but he shies away from making that knowledge public because it would lead to his disgrace. This scene, in the Salem courtroom, marks the climax of the play,

  1. 'Whilst we are appalled by Abigail Williams, we are fascinated by her as well'. ...

    Her own introduction to the play itself describes her as a girl ?with an endless capacity for dissembling?, and it is clear from the start that Abigail is no ordinary character; she soon sparks the hysteria that ensues, and as the audience we are amazed at the fact that common

  2. How Fear Encourages Selfishness in "The Crucible".

    fail to mention that ?Near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature...and seventy-two condemned to hang by that signature? (3.113). As the matter gets further and further out of hand, the initial purpose of reestablishing a devil-free society becomes concealed beneath personal motives as Danforth clearly shows.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work